Two Corbin High School bowlers appeared at the 2017 KHSAA singles state championship tournaments in Lexington Thursday, with one finishing in the top ten, and the other finishing in the top 25.
Junior Josie Philpot made her third straight appearance at state this year, bowling a total score of 583 in the afternoon’s three qualifying matches at the Collins-Eastland Bowling Alley. Unfortunately, that was not enough to put her in the top eight (out of 32), which is where she needed to be in order to advance on, but it was still good enough for a tenth place overall finish.
Fellow junior Ryan Felts made his first-ever appearance at state this year, bowling a total of 581 in the qualifying rounds to finish 22nd out of 32 in the boys’ championship tourney.
These two bowlers, their coaches and the rest of the Rollin’ Redhounds supporters in attendance were all disappointed that they would not be getting the chance to contend for a singles state championship in 2017, but everyone was also very proud of what the team was able to accomplish together this season.
Coach Patty Venable said, “It has been hard not having a home alley to practice in, and being on the road all the time. When you’re a bowler, you are at the bowling alley a lot. That’s where they spent all of their spare time, but they couldn’t do that this year, so I’m very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Coach Mike Petrey added, “For us to be able to make it this far with the situation that we’ve been in is an accomplishment in itself. We didn’t get to practice a whole lot. As a matter of fact, there was a whole month there where we didn’t get to practice at all, so for us to be able to keep it together and win the matches that we won really shows the character of this team.”
Finally, Coach Kenny Kysar said, “This year was our most successful year for boys and girls. The closing of the bowling alley in Corbin was tough. Having to travel 60 miles one way just to practice meant that we were only able to have ten practices all year, but we still had two kids that made it to state. That’s pretty great.”
“Josie has been here three times,” Kysar continued. “And I expect her to go again next year as a senior. Ryan is here for the first time. Obviously, he dealt with some jitters early, but he threw the ball well. It was a great year for everyone. I give thanks to our administrators at Corbin for allowing us to relocate to Richmond, and I also want to thank everyone at Galaxy Bowling for allowing us to bring our team up there. It’s been fun.”
As for how the competitors felt after their performances on the state championship stage, Philpot said, “We had an awesome season, and I think that next year is going to be great. We’re going to have a bunch of great bowlers coming back, and a bunch more coming up from middle school. I’m super-excited about that.”
“Right now, I don’t really want to believe that this is happening, but it is happening. I’ve been tenth in the state for three years now, and I just really wanted to advance this year. I know that’s what my mamaw wanted, but I’m going to come into my senior year with my head held high. I’m just going to do what I have to do, and hopefully I’ll be able to get the job done.”
Felts said, “It’s been rough, because when the Corbin alley was still open I was down there probably five or six nights a week. Then they shut down, and all of a sudden our nearest bowling alley is 45 minutes away. It’s been an experience. We weren’t even sure if we were going to have a team, but the school system was nice enough to help make sure that we could still have that, and Galaxy Bowling was nice enough to let us use their lanes.”
“Going into the season, we had high hopes and expectations of advancing to state. We had a great season, but then we hit a wall in the semifinals of the region tournament. That is how things ended for the team, but going into individuals we knew that each one of our top four bowlers had a good chance to qualify for state. I am very proud that I was able to make it here, and although I didn’t do as well as I expected, it was still a great experience for me. It will help me to be prepared for next season.”
Photo at top: Redhound bowlers Ryan Felts and Josie Philpot with CHS Athletic Director Andrew Roark.